Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are Connected to the Mind

2/6/94 at ITI


Confucianism talks about “loyalty and forgiveness.” Taoism talks about “responses.” Although it talks about “purity and non-doing”, cultivating the natural way according to Tao Te Ching means that “people rule over earth, earth rules heaven, heaven rules the Tao, and the Tao rules nature.” Actually this is just a lesson on “responses.” Buddhism talks about compassion. All three teachings, Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are not apart from the mind. If they were separated from the mind, they are not teachings. Confucianism talks about “loyalty and forgiveness.” Loyalty means being loyal in holding oneself to certain standards. “No matter what I do, I am loyal”-- this is a basic criteria for developing one’s character. Forgiveness means forgiving others. Be forgiving with other people’s faults and be tolerant with other people’s ideas. If you can be loyal to standards you set for yourself, your character becomes lofty; if you can forgive others, you will wish to help others rather than ask too much of them. Confucianism isn’t separate from the mind. See how both Chinese characters loyalty () and forgiveness () have the radical “mind” () at the bottom.


Taoism talks about responses. Everything is understood based on a “feeling”. Responsiveness means reacting to everything, granting everyone’s requests. A description of how responses occur goes, “everything is granted through an intuitive understanding.” Wishes and responses coincide. What are wishes and responses? Let’s illustrate with electricity. When you plug [this lamp] here, this place lights up. Whatever you are thinking about, someone knows. Since you’ve connected psychically, you get whatever you want. When you are sincere, you get that feeling. Make it penetrating and you will reach gods.


Taoism talks about responses, so Laotze wrote “An Essay on Responses,” which starts out this way, “Lord of Heaven says: ‘There is no door to fortune or misfortune, people invite it in.’” This is a response. There’s no door to fortune or misfortune. Do good deeds and you will have the blessings, do unwholesome deeds and you shall face misfortune. “The consequences of good and evil follow you like shadows.” Consequences due to good and evil are like people’s shadows. Wherever you go, your shadow follows. “In heaven and on earth, spirits are tracking our mistakes.” There are four ruling spirits in the universe, each ruling over the year, the month, the day, and the time. Behind the scenes are the spirits of year, month, day, and time watching over things. “There are spirits in the universe who preside over people’s mistakes. Depending on the severity of the violation, they rob people of their longevity. When their length of life decreases, they become poor too.” They take years off of people’s lives. Maybe someone was supposed to live a long life, but suddenly his life ends early. When your life becomes shorter, you become poorer too. You have to face all kinds of accidents, diseases, and arguments. Since Taoism speaks in terms of responses, this is from “An Essay on Responses.” It is about “everything being granted through an intuitive understanding.”.


Buddhism talks about compassion. What is kindness? Kindness means “great kindness despite having no affinities.” Although you have no affinities with him and regardless of whether he is good to you, you are compassionate to him. The fewer affinities you have with someone, the more you ought to be compassionate to that person. This is because “great compassion is about all being one.” Why is someone extremely compassionate? It is because of empathy, seeing other people suffer, one feels as if one were suffering too. Use kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. Kindness can bestow happiness while compassion can uproot misery. Since you are sympathetic, you can uproot all beings’ pain. This is to love others like you would yourself.



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